Prince Philip Is Growing a Rare Delicacy at Queen's Estate — with Amazing Results
Prince Philip has a gift for truffles.
Britain’s The Times reports that the 97-year-old royal may very well be the first person to ever successfully coax a number of nature’s rarest delicacy, the black truffle, from British soil.
An ardent horticulturist, the Duke of Edinburgh has been attempting to raise truffles at the Queen’s Sandringham estate since 2006, when he planted a grove of more than 300 oak saplings impregnated with truffle spores.
“They have been highly successful,” Adrian Cole of Truffle UK, the British import firm that supplied the trees for the Norfolk estate, told the newspaper. “The majority have been the French Perigord black truffle, as good as you get.”
Known as “black diamonds,” the Perigord noir or Mediterranean black truffle — found largely in southern France, northern Italy and northern Spain — is the most prized of the approximately 70 known truffle species.
The selling price of black truffles, which arrive at market between late autumn and mid-February, is currently between $175 – $225 per 3.5 ounces.
While truffles have been twice previously claimed to have been found in Britain since 2015, Prince Phillip’s grove is believed to be the first to produce a sizable quantity and the first harvested in a climate as far north as Britain of any size.
The prince is reported to have personally inspected his groves before Christmas.
The estate Phillip has managed since 1952 already contains a working fruit farm, where he has cultivated apples, gooseberries and blackcurrants, which are sold commercially with proceeds returned to the running of the estate.
Cole told The Times that longstanding plans called for the bumper crop to be sold to raise money for the running of the estate but had been diverted instead to the estate kitchens. “From what I gather, none has been sold. They have gone to the house or family.”
As far as the size of the actual harvest, he said, “You will never get that information out of a truffle plantation owner. They are very secretive about it.”